It is ridiculously hard to have children and keep things organized. We were in desperate need of something to store and organize the many kids art and craft supplies accumulating at our house, as well as somewhere for our young kids put the supplies to use.
Media Center Armoire to Art Center
We picked up this media center armoire at our local Restore for $40. There were several scratches on it, the veneer was chipped in a few places, and the screws that held the bottom and top together were stripped.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was just what we needed.
The hardest part of this project was figuring out the table. Rather than having a simple table top that folded down, we decided to create a roll-out table. This would allow access to all the supplies inside without bringing down the table.
Instead of buying an expensive, pre-made extending table, we made our own by attaching two sets of heavy duty full extension slides to trimmed 2x4s. We attached the assembly from underneath by taking out the drawers.
We moved the bottom shelf back as far as possible to give us the most table space. Next we attached edge-glued pine boards together with a piano hinge and attached them to the middle portion of the extension structure.
THIS TABLE WAS THE BIGGEST HEADACHE EVER! I do not recommend going this route unless you are an experienced builder. You must get the measurements exact for your individual piece and the space available. If I ever tackle a similar project, I will most likely build fold down tables that attach to the doors instead.
Everyone’s least favorite step: paint prep. Sanding is never fun, but unfortunately it has to be done.
After sanding and cleanup comes priming. (Ignore how messy my primer is. I was trying to finish up what was left of an old container that was becoming weird, so I used it inside where it wouldn’t matter much.)
Because this was a media center, it had a pre-cut section at the back. To reinforce this area, I used some strong tape around the edges.
Then, I painted the inside with a white enamel paint, and the outside with a medium gray glossy paint, both leftovers from other projects. Kids get messy, so I wanted something scrubbable.
For a fun POP inside, I glued some fabric to the back using hot glue along the top, spray adhesive throughout, then more hot glue around the edges. The clips helped hold parts of the fabric out of the way while gluing other parts.
(In the picture you can see the edges of the cutout at the back, but you really don’t notice them in person.)
Next, we built adjustable shelves from plywood, painted and attached them inside. We also took out the table assembly and painted it.
Another common issue with kids art, is where to put all of their creations after they’re finished. To help with that, we added galvanized steel flashing to the inside of both doors.
***Make sure you get galvanized steel and NOT ALUMINUM, or you’ll have a shiny door, but it won’t be magnetic.
We cut the flashing pieces to length, used construction adhesive on the back of the flashing, then attached a thin wood trim over the metal edges.
I painted the trim to match the other color pops, and voila!
FINALLY, all finished and organized! This took WAY longer to complete than it should have. We started using the drawers and shelves as soon as we brought it home, and then we would do a small bit at a time, then stop for a month or two. Overall, as long as you have a set plan, and have the time to work on it, this should only take a couple weekends of work.
We spent around $60 in materials, plus the cost of the armoire, so overall around $100. Your materials and cost will depend on what you already have on hand, and how much modification is required.
Hopefully this post inspires you to convert some old furniture!
*** Update: I have added photos of how the table slides out, but again, DO NOT go this route unless you are prepared to calculate and adjust everything to fit the exact size and specification of your furniture piece. Most of this furniture rehab is easy, the table IS NOT!